Sunday, March 20, 2011









At 9 am today, Solemnity of Saint Joseph, in the Chapel Redemptoris Materof the Vatican Apostolic Palace, with the singing of Lauds and meditation final, ended the Spiritual Exercises in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI.
The meditations were laid this year by Father François-Marie Léthel the Order of Discalced Carmelites, prelate secretary of the Pontifical Academy of Theology and professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum , and had as its theme: The light of Christ in the heart of Church - John Paul II's theology of the saints .
At the conclusion of the exercises, the Pope addressed some words to those present. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Soon after, in the Sala Clementina, the members of the Roman Curia were presented to Pope Benedict XVI's wishes for his feast day. The address was a tribute to the Pope by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals. The Holy Father concluded his meeting with his blessing.
We publish the following words that the Pope has addressed those present at the conclusion of the Spiritual Exercises in the Chapel Redemptoris Mater :


    Dear Brothers,
    Léthel dear Father,

    the end of this process of reflection, meditation, prayer in the company of Saints Friends of Pope John Paul II, I would say with all my heart: Thank you, Father Léthel, for your safe driving, for the spiritual wealth that has given.Saints: She gave them to see how the stars in the firmament of history and, with your enthusiasm and your joy, you put us in the circle of these saints and showed us that just the Saints 'small' by Saints "large". We showed thatscientia fidei and the scientia amoris go together and complement each other, the reason that great and love go together, even the great love that sees more than one reason.

    Providence has willed that these exercises will conclude with the Feast of St. Joseph, my personal patron saint and Patron of the Holy Church, a humble saint, a humble worker, who was made worthy to be Guardian of the Redeemer.

    St. Joseph St. Matthew characterized with one word: "He was a right" and " dikaios "from" dike , "and in view of the Old Testament, as we find, for example, Psalm 1," right "is the man who is immersed in the Word of God, who lives in the Word of God, living the law not as a "yoke" but as "joy", he lives - we might say - the law as "Gospel."San Jose was right, was immersed in the Word of God written, transmitted in the wisdom of his people, and in doing so they had prepared and called to know the Incarnate Word - the Word came to us as a man - and destined to preserve, to protect this Incarnate Word, and this is his mission to always keep the Holy Church and Our Lord.

    We entrust to his care at this time, please help us in our humble service. Let us go forward with courage under this protection. We are grateful for the humble Saints, pray to the Lord that makes us even in our humble service, and so the saints in the company of saints.

    Once again, thank you, P. Léthel, for your inspiration. Thanks!


    A chaplet with a crucifix fashioned on black cord. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

    CNS REPORT -- For the past 10 years, Father James Statz has been inspiring Lenten devotions with his missionary-style chaplet.

    The chaplet consists of a cross on a cord with seven sets of three knots each that is worn around the neck over one's clothing, visible for all of Lent.

    Starting Ash Wednesday, parishioners wear the cross and pray seven Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glory Bes everyday for a specific member of the parish or community. On Good Friday, that cross is then given to that person.

    During his time as a missionary in Venezuela, Father Statz noted that there was need for a visible sign of the cross.

    "There was an evangelical church on almost every street corner," the Minnesota priest said in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service. He decided that a tradition where the cross could be seen by all would be good for both the faith of his parishioners and it would help to evangelize the barrios where he ministered.

    The opportunity afforded by Ash Wednesday to visibly display the cross gave him the idea for what would later become the Lenten chaplet. "It's a good way to evangelize our own people and others in the barrios," he said. He views it a powerful tool in bringing the word of God to everyone.

    Through the cross, "people are brought into the church," said Father Statz.

    The Venezuelans assembled rosary-type crosses out of "wood and leaves" in such a manner that they could be worn for the whole of Lent. "The immediate response was very positive," the priest said.

    After returning to the United States, Father Statz introduced the tradition to his own parish, Our Lady of the Angels in Sauk Centre, Minn. His parishioners were receptive to the practice and immediately adopted the idea. Since its introduction almost10 years ago, the local youth groups also have incorporated it into their fundraisers.

    "We've done it since it started," said one parishioner, Maria Minette. "I like it a lot because it helps to focus on others during Lent."

    "Sometimes we do it as a family and sometimes we do it individually," she said. Commenting on the effectiveness and the power of the cross, she added, "It's especially powerful for teens, for younger adults -- visually wearing the cross for the days of Lent and having people ask about it gives them a chance to talk about their faith."

    The youth groups in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minn., make the chaplets. "Each year we get a new crucifix and this year we had them blessed by (Pope) Benedict XVI," Father Statz said.

    This tradition is used especially for the confirmation students, but the entire congregation is invited to participate. And the practice has started to spread to other churches in the area, including St. Paul's Parish, also in Sauk Centre.

    "Sacramentals assist the sacraments -- they go with the liturgy and extend it. Some other parishes have picked up on it and benefited," Father Statz said.

    The parishioners have been instrumental in the spreading of the tradition and in participating in the Lenten devotion. "I actually would like to see it spread farther," said Minette.


    Agenzia Fides REPORT - “The two factions are denying responsibility for the massacre at the market. Gbagbo's online newspapers even accuse Ouattara's 'Burkinabé mercenaries' of being responsible for the tragedy,” says a source for Fides from the Church in Abidjan, where yesterday in the neighbourhood of Abobo, bullets from heavy artillery were showered on an outdoor market, causing 25 to 30 deaths. According to UNOCI (the UN force in Côte d'Ivoire), the shots were fired by forces loyal to outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo. The UN says it was a crime against humanity.
    “The presence of Burkinabé mercenaries in Ouattara's camp has not yet been verified by independent sources, but this accusation by Gbagbo is evidence of the break in relations between Gbagbo and the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré,” says the Fides source, who for security reasons prefers to remain anonymous. “The latter, having sponsored the agreements in Ouagadougou in 2007, was involved in the round of negotiations sponsored by the African Union to resolve the Ivorian crisis, triggered by Gbagbo's refusal to recognise Ouattara's victory in the second round of presidential elections in November 2010. As we all recall, in late February a delegation from the African Union went to Abidjan to meet with the protagonists in the crisis. Blaise Compaoré, who was part of the group of mediators, decided at the last minute not to travel to Côte d'Ivoire, officially for security reasons,” continues our source.
    The situation is alarming, because while the rebels seem to advance closer to Ouattara to take over the district of Cocody, which houses many important buildings, Gbagbo is deploying militia groups to create roadblocks in the quarters of his supporters. According to UNOCI sources, there are defections in the security forces, who until now had remained loyal to Gbagbo, and whose morale is low because wages have not been paid. According to UNOCI, at least 100 soldiers have deserted and have become refugees in Liberia.


    UCAN REPORT: Family questions medical report as Church suspects hate campaign reporter, Lahore
    March 18, 2011
    Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani (right), NCJP director, at funeral of Qamar David

    Pakistani Christians say that a Catholic businessman serving a life imprisonment for blasphemy was tortured and murdered and did not die of a heart attack as stated in a medical report.

    The man was found dead in his prison cell.

    “Qamar David might have fallen prey to an active hate campaign going on in the country on this issue by extremist groups,” the Catholic Bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace NCJP suggested in an update was circulated by email on March 15 the day David, 55, died in “mysterious circumstances” in a jail in Karachi.

    David, a wealthy businessman, was arrested in 2006 for being in possession of a SIM phone used for sending derogatory messages insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Though another Muslim co-accused was acquitted for lack of evidence, the Catholic was given life imprisonment and fined 101,000 rupees (US$ 1,183) in 2010 under the blasphemy laws.

    Clergy, Church activists and the family of the victim have slammed the initial findings of the doctors.

    Reports said Qamar David’s lawyer Pervez Chaudhry maintained that the allegations were spurious, triggered by a business rivalry, and that the conviction was the result of pressure from local religious clerics and their supporters.

    Auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Shah of Lahore presided over the funeral on March 17 at St. Joseph Church in Lahore, David’s native city. Women wailed as the coffin was placed in front of the altar. The mass remained tense as relatives scuffled with Catholic media and NCJP workers documenting the funeral.

    Vicar General Father Andrew Nisari, in his address, asked congregation of more than 200 to be undeterred in their faith. “Another historic chapter has been added in our struggle against the fatal logic (referring to blasphemy laws). The persecution and discrimination, especially in finding jobs”, has frustrated our youth”, he pointed.

    The incident is the latest in a series of blasphemy-related killings. Prayers are still being held around the country for Shahbaz Bhatti, the federal cabinet minister assassinated earlier this month for trying to amend the blasphemy laws.

    The blasphemy laws give life imprisonment and death penalty to convicts of insulting to the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad respectively. Church groups, who condemned these legislations for decades, have now adopted a low profile in wake of recent killings.


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    EU court rules that schools may display crucifixes | European Court of Human Rights,Grand Chamber, crucifix

    European Court of Human Rights
    Ind. Cath. News report: The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that displaying crucifixes in schools in Italy does not breach the rights of non-Catholic families.

    In a landmark decision, the Strasbourg-based court's Grand Chamber said it found no evidence "that the display of such a symbol on classroom walls might have an influence on pupils".

    A lower chamber of the European court had ruled in 2009 that the classroom crucifixes violated the religious freedom clauses of the European Convention of Human Rights.

    The Italian government appealed saying that crucifixes were an historical and cultural part of Italian life.

    Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi SJ , said the Vatican welcomed the ruling, which recognizes that "human rights must not be placed in opposition to the religious foundations of European civilization."

    The ruling will affect all 47 Council of Europe member states, and sets a precedent for citizens in other countries who would like religious symbols in classrooms.



    15 March 2011

    Archdiocese of Canberra report: Fr Vince Pierse, who served in archdiocesan parishes for more than 45 years, has died. He was 91. Fr Pierse was living in retirement at Mount St Joseph’s Nursing Home, Young.

    He served in the parishes of Goulburn, Young, Ardlethan, Gundagai, Bega, West Wyalong, Crookwell, North Goulburn, Binalong, Braidwood, Adelong, Bombala, Adaminaby and O’Connor between 1949 until his retirement in 1994. He is survived by his sister Vonnie and his brother Bill and their extended families.

    A concelebrated Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul will be held at 11.30am on Friday, 18 March, at St Patrick’s Church, Gundagai.


    St. Joseph


    Feast: March 19


    Feast Day:March 19
    Died:1st century
    Patron of:against doubt, against hesitation, Americas, bursars, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, Catholic Church , confectioners, craftsmen, Croatian people , dying people, emigrants, engineers, expectant mothers, families, fathers, holy death, house hunters, immigrants, interior souls, laborers, married people, Oblates of Saint Joseph, people in doubt, people who fight Communism, pioneers, protection of the Church, social justice, travellers, unborn children, Universal Church , Vatican II, wheelwrights, workers, many more...

    The glorious St. Joseph was lineally descended from the greatest kings of the tribe of Judah, and from the most illustrious of the ancient patriarchs; but his true glory consisted in his humility and virtue. The history of his life hath not been written by men; but his principal actions are recorded by the Holy Ghost himself God entrusted him with the education of his divine Son, manifested in the flesh. In this view he was espoused to the Virgin Mary. It is an evident mistake of some writers, that by a former wife he was the father of St. James the Less, and of the rest who are styled in the gospels the brothers of our Lord; for these were only cousin-germans to Christ, the sons of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin, wife of Alphaeus, who was living at the time of our Redeemer's crucifixion. St. Jerome assures us1 that St. Joseph always preserved his virgin chastity; and it is of faith that nothing contrary thereto ever took place with regard to his chaste spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was given her by heaven to be the protector of her chastity, to secure her from calumnies in the birth of the Son of God, and to assist her in his education, and in her journeys, fatigues, and persecutions. How great was the purity and sanctity of him who was chosen the guardian of the most spotless Virgin! This holy man seems, for a considerable time, to have been unacquainted that the great mystery of the Incarnation had been wrought in her by the Holy Ghost. Conscious, therefore, of his own chaste behaviour towards her, it could, not but raise a great concern in his breast to find that, notwithstanding the sanctity of her deportment, yet he might be well assured that she was with child. But being , as the scripture calls him, and consequently possessed of all virtues, especially of charity and mildness towards his neighbour, he was determined to leave her privately, without either condemning or accusing her, committing the whole cause to God. These, his perfect dispositions, were so acceptable to God, the lover of justice, charity, and peace, that before he put his design into execution he sent an angel from heaven, not to reprehend anything in his holy conduct, but to dissipate all his doubts and fears, by revealing to him this adorable mystery. How happy should we be if we were as tender in all that regards the reputation of our neighbor; as free from entertaining any injurious thought or suspicion, whatever certainty our conjectures or our senses may seem to rely on; and as guarded in our tongue! We commit these faults only because in our hearts we are devoid of that true charity and simplicity, whereof St. Joseph sets us so eminent an example on this occasion.

    In the next place we may admire in secret contemplation with what devotion, respect, and tenderness he beheld and adored the first of all men, the new-born Saviour of the world, and with what fidelity he acquitted himself of his double charge, the education of Jesus and the guardianship of his blessed mother. "He was truly the faithful and prudent servant," says St. Bernard,2 "whom our Lord appointed the master of his household, the comfort and support of his mother, his foster-father, and most faithful co-operator in the execution of his deepest counsels on earth." "What a happiness," says the same Father, "not only to see Jesus Christ, but also to hear him: to carry him in his arms, to lead him from place to place, to embrace and caress him, to feed him, and to be privy to all the great secrets which were concealed from the princes of this world!"

    "O astonishing elevation! O unparalleled dignity!" cries out the pious Gerson,3 in a devout address to St. Joseph, "that the mother of God, queen of heaven, should call you her lord; that God himself, made man, should call you father, and obey your commands. O glorious Triad on earth, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, how dear a family to the glorious Trinity in heaven, Father, Son,, and Holy Ghost! Nothing is on earth so great, so good, so excellent." Amidst these extraordinary graces, what more wonderful than his humility! He conceals his privileges, lives as the most obscure of men, publishes nothing of God's great mysteries, makes no further inquiries into them, leaving it to God to manifest them at his own time, seeks to fulfil the order of providence in his regard without interfering with anything but what concerns himself. Though descended from the royal family which had long been in the possession of the throne of Judea, he is content with his condition, that of a mechanic or handicraftsman, and makes it his business, by labouring in it, to maintain himself, his spouse, and the divine Child.

    We should be ungrateful to this great saint if we did not remember that it is to him, as the instrument under God, that we are indebted for the preservation of the infant Jesus from Herod's jealousy and malice, manifested in the slaughter of the Innocents. An angel appearing to him in his sleep bade him arise, take the child Jesus, and fly with him into Egypt, and remain there till he should again have notice from him to return. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to many inconveniences and sufferings in so long a journey, with a little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being through deserts and among strangers; yet he alleges no excuses, nor inquires at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom observes that God treats thus all his servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing seasons of consolation.4 "Joseph," says he, "is anxious on seeing the Virgin with child; an angel removes that fear; he rejoices at the child's birth, but a great fear succeeds; the furious king seeks to destroy the child, and the whole city is in an uproar to take away his life. This is followed by another joy- the adoration of the Magi; a new sorrow then arises; he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, without help or acquaintance." It is the opinion of the Fathers that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child Jesus all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled, and in many places fell to the ground, according to that of Isaiah xix.: The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages most fruitful in saints.

    After the death of King Herod, which was notified to St. Joseph by a vision, God ordered him to return with the child and his mother into the land of Israel, which our saint readily obeyed. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus succeeded Herod in that part of the country, apprehensive he might be infected with his father's vices- cruelty and ambition-he feared on that account to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done, for the more commodious education of the child. And therefore, being directed by God in another vision, he retired into the dominions of his brother Herod Antipas, in Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth, where the wonderful occurrences of our Lord's birth were less known. St. Joseph being a strict observer of the Mosaic law, in conformity to its direction annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the passover. Archelaus being banished by Augustus and Judea made a Roman province, he had now nothing more to fear at Jerusalem. Our Saviour being advanced to the twelfth year of his age, accompanied his parents thither; who, having performed the usual ceremonies of the feast, were now returning with many of their neighbours and acquaintances towards Galilee, and, never doubting but that Jesus had joined himself with some of the company, they travelled on for a whole day's journey without further inquiry after him before they discovered that he was not with them. But when night came on, and they could hear no tidings of him among their kindred and acquaintance, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed to Jerusalem; where, after an anxious search of three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the learned doctors of the law, hearing them discourse, and asking them such questions as raised the admiration of all that heard him, and made them astonished at the ripeness of his understanding: nor were his parents less surprised on this occasion. And when his mother told him with what grief and earnestness they had sought him, and to express her sorrow for that, though short, privation of his presence, said to him, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I sought thee in great affliction of mind": she received for answer that, being the Messias and Son of God, sent by his Father into the world in order to redeem it, he must be about his Father's business, the same for which he had been sent into the world; and therefore that it was most likely for them to find him in his Father's house: intimating that his appearing in public on this occasion was to advance his Father's honour, and to prepare the princes of the Jews to receive him for the Messias; pointing out to them from the prophets the time of his coming. But though in thus staying in the temple, unknown to his parents, he did something without their leave, in obedience to his heavenly Father, yet in all other things he was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjection to them.

    Aelred, our countryman, Abbot of Rieval, in his sermon on losing the child Jesus in the temple, observes that this his conduct to his parents is a true representation of that which he shows us, whilst he often withdraws himself for a short time from us to make us seek him the more earnestly. He thus describes the sentiments of his holy parents on this occasion."5 Let us consider what was the happiness of that blessed company, in the way to Jerusalem, to whom it was granted to behold his face, to hear his sweet words, to see in him the signs of divine lie wisdom and virtue; and in their mutual discourse to receive the influence of his saving truths and example. The old and young admire him. I believe boys of his age were struck with astonishment at the gravity of his manners and words. I believe such rays of grace darted from his blessed countenance as drew on him the eyes, ears, and hearts of every one. And what tears do they shed when he is not with them." He goes on considering what must be tie grief of his parents when they had lost him; what their sentiments, and how earnest their search: but what their joy when they found him again. "Discover to me," says he, "O my Lady, Mother of my God, what were your sentiments, what your astonishment and your joy when you saw him again, and sitting, not among boys, but amidst the doctors of the law: when you saw every one's eyes fixed on him, every one's ears listening to him, great and small, learned and unlearned, intent only on his words and motions. You now say: I have found him whom I love. I will hold him, and will no more let him part from me. Hold him, sweet Lady, hold him fast; rush on his neck dwell on his embraces, and compensate the three days' absence by multiplied delights in your present enjoyment of him. You tell him that you and his father sought him in grief. For what did you grieve? not for fear of hunger or want in him whom you knew to be God: but I believe you grieved to see yourself deprived of the delights of his presence even for a short time; for the Lord Jesus is so sweet to those who taste him, that his shortest absence is a subject of the greatest grief to them." This mystery is an emblem of the devout soul, and Jesus sometimes withdrawing himself, and leaving her in dryness, that she may be more earnest in seeking him. But, above all, how eagerly ought the soul which has lost God by sin to seek him again, and how bitterly ought she to deplore her extreme misfortune!

    As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have died before the marriage of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt but he had the happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments: whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a happy death, and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that tremendous hour. The church reads the history of the Patriarch Joseph on his festival, who was styled the saviour of Egypt, which he delivered from perishing by famine; and was appointed the faithful master of the household of Potiphar, and of that of Pharaoh and his kingdom. But our great saint was chosen by God the saviour of the life of him who was the true Saviour of the souls of men, rescuing him from the tyranny of Herod. He is now glorified in heaven, as the guardian and keeper of his Lord on earth. As Pharaoh said to the Egyptians in their distress, "Go to Joseph"; so may we confidently address ourselves to the mediation of him, to whom God, made man, was subject and obedient on earth.


    TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 19: Matthew 1: 16- 24

    Matthew 1: 16, 18 - 21, 24
    16and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.18Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit;19and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.20But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;21she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."24When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife,

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